Stathatos, John. (2 of 9). Oral History of British Photography
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Interviewee's home, nr Finsbury Park, London, United Kingdom
Stathatos, John, 1947-, (speaker, male)
Read, Shirley, (speaker, female)
Part 2. John Stathatos (JS) had a strong interest in the natural world, as a child he wanted to be a naturalist, about a century too late. Read Gerald Durrell, met Julian Huxley. Then thought about becoming a scientist but realised that he wouldn't have time to do other things he was interested in - like writing and poetry. His family had many books and knew writers. JS published his first piece of translation at 18, the first of many. From 13 to 17 was a weekly boarder at the American School in Athens, enjoyed it and met more people of his own age there. A happy time, read a lot, felt he wasn't a good student though good at avoiding organised games. Went shooting game with his father. Went spear fishing. Has given both up since stocks dwindled. Would drive all over Greece and explore. Went motor rallying, long distance endurance. London to Munich via Nigeria and London to Sydney. It was great fun, wrote a book about the London to Sydney rally which paid for it. Family lived in a flat in central Athens though moved away much later when the centre became polluted. JS left school and went to London and Oxford to cram for Oxford Entrance but went to McGill in Montreal to do biology. Loathed it, went to New York all the time, decided to give up biology. On April 21 1967 there was a military coup in Athens, he left Montreal for Paris and then overland to Greece but became liable for military service by leaving university and was in the Greek army by June. Difficult because his father was something of a legend and had been at Military Academy with senior military figures so it was assumed JS would become an officer. He made asthma an excuse to avoid this.